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Mrs. Page. Quick, quick, we'll come dress you straight: put on the gown the while. (Exit Falstaff
Mrs. Ford. I would, my husband would meet him in this shape: he cannot abide the old woman of Brentford; he lwears, she's a witch; forbade her my house, and hath threatened to beat her.
Mrs. Page. Heaven guide hiin to thy husband's cudgel; and the devil guide his cudgel afterwards !
Mrs. Ford. But is my husband coming ?
Mrs. Page. Ay, in good sadness, is he; and talks of the basket too, howloever he hath had intelligence.
Mrs. Ford. We'll try that; for I'll appoint my men to carry the basket again, to meet him at the door with it, as they did last time.
Mrs. Page. Nay, but he'll be here presently : let's go dress him like the witch of Brentford.
Mrs. Ford. I'll first direct my men what they shall do with the basket. Go up, I'll bring linen for him straight.
Mrs. Page. Hang him, dishonest varlet ! we cannot
and yet honest too:
Mrs. Ford. Go, Sirs, take the basket again on your shoulders ; your master is hard at door; if he bid you set it down, obey him: quickly, dispatch.
[Exit Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford. Enter Servants with the basket. I Serv. Come, come, take up.
2 Serv. Pray heaven, it be not full of the knight again.
I Serv. I hope not; I had as lief bear so much lead.
Enter Ford, Sballow, Page, Caius, and Evans. Ford. Ay, but if it prove true, master Page, have you any way then to unfool me again ? --Set down the basket, villain :- somebody call my wife :---youth in a basket! -Oh, you panderly rascals! there's a knot, a gang, a pack, a conspiracy, against me : now shall the devil be sham'd. What! wife, I fay! come, come forth; behold what honest cloaths you send forth to bleaching
Page. Why, this passes ! Master Ford, you are not to go loose any longer; you must be pinion'd.
Eva. Why, this is lunaticks: this is mad as a mad dog.
Enter Mrs. Ford. Sbal. Indeed, master Ford, this is not well ; indeed.
Ford. So say I too, Sir.- Come hither, mistress Ford ;-mistress Ford, the honest woman, the modest wife, the virtuous creature, that hath the jealous fool to her husband !--I suspect without cause, mistress, do I?
Mrs. Ford. Heaven be my witness, you do, if you suspect me in any dishonesty.
Ford. Well said, brazen-face; hold it cut.-Come forth, firrah. [Pulls the cloatbs out of the basket.
Page. This passes
Mrs. Ford. Are you not asham'd ? let the cloaths alone.
Ford. I shall find you anon.
Eva. 'Tis unreasonable : will you take up your wife's cloaths ? come away.
Ford. Empty the basket, I say.
Ford. Master Page, as I am a man, there was one convey'd out of my house yesterday in this basket ; why may not he be there again ? In my house I am sure he is : my intelligence is true; my jealousy is reasonable ; pluck me out all the linen.
Mrs. Ford. If you find a man there, he shall die a flea's death.
Page. Here's no man.
Shal. By my fidelity, this is not well, master Ford ; * this wrongs you.
Eva. Master Ford, you must pray, and not follow the imaginations of your own heart: this is jealousies.
Ford. Well, he's not here I seek for.
Ford. Help to search my house this one time: if I find not what I seek, shew no colour for my extremity ; let me for ever be your table-sport ; let them say of me, As jealous as Ford, that search'd a hollow wall-nut for his wife's leman. Satisfy me once more, once more search with me.
Mrs. Ford. What hoa, mistress Page ! come you, and the old woman down; my husband will come into the chamber.
Ford. Old woman! what old woman's that?
Mrs. Ford. Why, it is my maid's aunt of Brentford.
Ford. A witch, a quean, an old cozening quean ! Have I not forbid her my house? She comes of errands, does she? We are simple men ; we do not know what's brought to pass under the profession of fortune-telling. She works by charms, by spells, by the figure ; and such dawbery as this is; beyond our element: we know nothing. - Come down, you witch; you hag you, come down, I say.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, good sweet husband; good gentleman, let him not strike the old woman.
-this wrongs you.] This is below your character, unworthy of your understanding, injurious to your honour. So in The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca, being ill treated by her sugged fifter, says: " You wrong me much, indeed you wrong yourself.”
Enter Falstaff in womens' cloaths, led by Mrs. Page.
Ford. I'll Prat her. Out of my door, you witch! [Beats bim.) You hag, you baggage, you poulcat, you ’ ronyon! out! out! out! I'll conjure you, I'll fortune-tell you.
[Exit Fal. Mrs. Page. Are you not asham’d? I think, you have kill'd the poor woman.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, he will do it.- 'Tis a goodly credit
Eva. By yea and no, I think, the 'oman is a witch indeed : I like not when a 'omans has a great peard; 3 I spy a great peard under his muffer.
Ford. Will you follow, gentlemen ? I beseech you, follow ; fee but the issue of my jealousy: if I cry out thus upon no trail, never trust me when I open again.
Page. Let's obey his humour a little further: come, gentlemen.
(Exeunt. Mrs. Page. Truit me, he beat him most pitifully:
Mrs. Ford. Nay, by the mass, that he did not; he beat him most unpitifully, methought.
Mrs. Page. I'll have the cudgel hallow'd, and hung o'er the altar; it hath done meritorious service.
Mrs. Ford. What think you ? inay we, with the
-ronyon!-] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or scab spoken of a man. JOHNSON.
1 /py a great peard under his muffler.) As the second stratagem, by which Falitaff cscapes, is much the groffer of the two, I with it had been practiled firit. It is very unlikely that Ford, having been so deceived before, and knowing that he had been deceived, would suffer him to escape in fo flight a disguise. JOHNSON.
cry out upon no trail,-) The expression is taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. To cry out, is to open or bark. JOHNSON.
warrant of woman-hood, and the witness of a good conscience, pursue him with any further revenge ?
Mrs. Pege. The spirit of wantonness is, sure, scar'd out of him, if the devil have him not in fee-simple, with fine and recovery, he will never, I think, in the way of waste, attempt us again.
Mrs. Ford. Shall we tell our husbands how we have served him ?
Mrs. Page. Yea, by all means; if it be but to scrape the figures out of your husband's brains. If they can find in their hearts the poor unvirtuous fat knight shall be any further afflicted, we too will still be the ministers.
Mrs. Ford. I'll warrant they'll have him publickly sham’d: and, methinks, there would be no period to the jest, should he not be publickly sham’d.
Mrs. Page. Come to the forge with it, then shape it: I would not have things cool.
[Excunt. SCENE III.
Changes to the Garter inn.
Enter Host and Bardolph. Bard. Sir, the Germans desire to have three of your
horses : the duke himself will be to-morrow at court, and they are going to meet him.
Hoft. What duke should that be, comes fo fecretly? I hear not of him in the court: let me speak with the gentlemen ; they speak English ?
Bard. Sir, I'll call them to you.
Hoft. They shall have my horses; but I'll make them pay, I'll fawce them. They have had my house a week at command; I have turn’d away my other guests : 5 they must come off; I'll fawce them, come.
[Escunt. -ibig muft COME off;---] This never can be our poet's or his holt's meaning. To conie off being in other terms to go fait free. We muit read, COMPT at, i.e. clear their reckoning.